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From its origins in 1994 with Stephen and Margaret Tindall’s wish to share the fruits of their business success for the betterment of New Zealand, The Tindall Foundation has evolved to be New Zealand’s largest family foundation. Along the way, we’ve tried to keep innovating in order to make a difference to communities around the country.
A good example is Community Foundations. In our early days we recognised that these funding bodies were established in North America, Australia and the UK, but not yet in New Zealand. By seeding the first of the foundations in the early 2000s and then supporting them over a seven-year window, we helped to grow a $200 million pool to support local communities.
In the Foundation’s formative days, collaboration had to be balanced with handling a flood of applications, and making clear to applicants the difference between our work and The Warehouse’s charitable activities. “Beyond our focus on helping families we were guided initially by what we’d excluded from consideration, like sports,” remembered Evelyn Gauntlett, Systems and Relationships Manager.
With formal programme outlines still basic, funding decisions in the early days depended on staff filtering and trustee discretion. This early-stage philanthropy has now matured to the point of having a purpose-built software programme for tracking and monitoring donations and outcomes.
When she joined as an administrator in 1997, Evelyn was one of only two full-time employees in a one-room office with two desks. As she prepared to retire at the end of 2014, she was one of four full-time and four part-time staff, with one volunteer, in the Foundation’s own offices in Blomfield Spa, Takapuna.
Core values remain. Trevor described the Foundation as “a family commitment with a commitment to families,” where the founders and their children are closely engaged in helping Kiwis get ahead (the Supporting Families and Social Services programme accounted for 43% of donations in the 2013/14 financial year).
Building upon early leadership in waste management, Caring for our Environment is now the second largest area of donations (17% in 2013/14). Yet these focuses have not limited quick action, as evidenced by the Emergency Response Fund formed after the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes. John McCarthy, who succeeded Trevor in the Manager role from March 2014, promised that an innovative role in philanthropy would continue:
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